When most people clean out their attic they find dusty old books and photos, but one New Jersey family found a vintage signed baseball cards potentially worth millions. Baseball fan and New Jersey resident James Micioni died in March at 97, leaving an amazing collection of baseball memorabilia for his family to uncover.
A Babe Ruth card from 1933 is one of the most notable items from the collection and is expected to sell for over $100,000. "Uncle Jimmy" as he was known, has six and all are signed by the MLB legend.
The collection also includes a 1933 signed Lou Gehrig card and a signed Jimmie Foxx card from the set.
The Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA) authenticated and graded the collection. Experts are calling it one of the most amazing baseball collections in history and will add an "Uncle Jimmy Collection" pedigree on the label in the auction.
The collection is being auctioned off as 2,000 separate lots.
The first installment goes up for auction on June 14 in an online auction hosted by Wheatland Auction Services.
Wheatman owner Chuck Whisman said (via NJ.com):
"Maybe once a decade something like this comes around. The cool thing is, nobody knew of his collection. He just collected his whole life. He didn't show it off to anyone."
The collection was not just cards, it also included items from some of the most iconic games, including a rare Mickey Mantle plastic plaque from 1963.
Micioni would write to teams, players and photographers, many who sent him items.
He lived in New York and was around for some of the most iconic games and saw Ruth hit home runs live.
"He had pins from when he went to games and was a supporter of Jackie Robinson. He was there for Willie Mays' first home run." Whisman said.
Experts were impressed by the large number of rare cards, but also their near-immaculate condition.
"You're not just talking about an enormous amassment of unsigned cards that have been preserved," said president and CEO of Collectors Universe Joe Orlando said. "You're talking about cards that needed to be handled and sent to the players and autographed and then returned and then preserved. Overall, the preservation is terrific."
Orlando added, "Because Uncle Jimmy preserved them so well, the colors retain their freshness and their brightness, so the eye appeal of the cards is tremendous because he took the time to preserve them the right way."
The family says they had no idea which cards were valuable and which were not and they didn't have nearly as much knowledge as their uncle.
One of his nephews noted that whenever they'd talk to Uncle Jimmy about what to do with his large collection he'll say, "You'll figure it out when I'm gone."
Turns out it's worth a lot more than they could have imagined.